Monday, March 12, 2012

I Spy...

With my little eye.  And ear.  And camera.

Writer Unboxed had a fun post about spying last week.  No, not for the government, for our novels. While she's a bit extreme I'll admit to people watching.  It's fun and interesting and hopefully it helps me create well rounded characters for my novels. 

I tend to watch more than listen really, and if someone is trying to be discrete I'll respect their privacy.But nowadays it's hard not to eavesdrop when people are walking around the grocery store airing their dirty habits and health issues on their cell phones.  And if something they say sparks a scene or a story I'll use it. 

I've never secretly photoed someone so I can use them in my novel though.  Have you?  How far have you gone to hear the end of a conversation you got caught up in?  Have you ever been caught spying?  And if so do the words "I'm a novelist" make it better?  Just in case, you know. 

16 comments:

  1. This post is hilarious. I can imagine you pretending to study cans of veges while actually eavesdropping on a conversation. :)

    I guess I can't say I eavesdrop, but I do ask my twelve-year-old how I should properly phrase sentences sometimes, since I write middle grade.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Input is always good. Yikes Middle grade. I think that's the hardest age group. It's the only one I've never tried writing for. I'm terrified.

      Delete
  2. I think people watching is an inherent part of writing. I really wouldn't call it spying, more just being really aware of those around us. I do photograph lots of everyday life scenes that inspire my writing too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't really call it spying but the post I linked to does. Of course she goes a lot further than I do. Life is what inspires writing and we have to be aware of it. Charlotte Bronte may have been able to write a thriller while living a secluded life but most people can't.

      Delete
  3. We had a write-in at a local dessert cafe last November for NaNo. Who needed to write? Listening to the conversations was a treasure trove!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remind me never to go to a write in at a dessert cafe. Forget writing and conversations. Hello dessert.

      Delete
  4. Oftentimes, I find that I don't need to seek out the conversation to listen in on- the conversation comes to me! But no, I've never secretly taken a picture of anyone just because I wouldn't want someone to do that to me.

    By the way, S.P. I want to let you know I'm giving you THREE blogger awards! For more info, visit my post here: readisthenewblack.blogspot.com/2012/03/i-won-some-awards.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the awards! I wouldn't want anyone to take a picture of me either. Though I don't know why they would.

      Delete
  5. I have really great hearing and teach high school, so I overhear all kinds of teenage conversations. And I love people watching. As for the picture taking, I learned a trick from one of the teens. You have someone stand like you are taking the picture of them with the other person really being the focus. Tends to come in handy when weird people are spotted :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to know about the sneaky pictures. I bet there are some interesting convos at the high school. Shudder. I admire you for teaching, I could never go back.

      Delete
  6. I am guilty of this! My husband I are terrible. We sit at dinner and gaze into each others eyes while giggling because someone is talking about their dirty laundry. I also like the window seat at my favorite restaurant because I love watching the people that walk by. I've never taken pictures though. ;0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's surprising what some people will talk about in public. I guess this is a change from small town America where everyone grew up, moved a couple blocks away and knew everyone around.

      Delete
  7. hehehe. This is funny. J.A. Bennett has a post kind of like this today too. So much fun. I've never secretly photographed someone either, but I love to watch people. Sometimes I feel a little creepy, but people are interesting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People are interesting! That's why we're writers. We want to discover how they think, why they do what they do and help other people get to know them.

      Delete
  8. My information comes from people who like to over-share. For instance, that guy at the cell phone store who told me about his failed marriage, why his wife left him, and what the "bitch" had done since. I was amazed he'd feel comfortable telling all that to a complete stranger, let alone a customer, but then I thought, "He's a great character!" : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is interesting how much some people will tell to complete strangers. Living in Georgia has been an eye opener. People will meet in line at the grocery store and know each others genealogy and health status by the time they check out.

      It can be kind of frustrating to someone from the west who likes to get out of the checkout line quickly as opposed to chewing the fat with whomever we encounter.

      Delete